Holcim Sees US Inflation Act Helping N.U.S

FILE PHOTO: Logo of Swiss cement maker Holcim is seen in Zug

The world’s largest cement maker expects its North American sales to account for half of its business in coming years, up from about 40% now, Miljan Gudovic told Reuters Global Markets Forum.

“I expect Europe to be soft compared to the US, but with recent inflationary legislation, we believe we will have strong momentum in the US, particularly in the second half.”

“For us, it (North America) is still a very attractive market,” said Gudovic, Halsim’s head of global decarbonization.

The IRA, seen as the largest climate package in US history, is designed to benefit decarbonisation efforts, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create significant tax incentives for clean energy.

Holcim has set sustainable targets and introduced low-carbon products, including cement, two years ago. “We now have cements with 90% less CO2 content compared to the traditional segment. These products are getting a boost in the market,” says Gudovic.

In addition, the company is developing several decarbonization initiatives through carbon capture, utilization and storage projects.

The Swiss company reported stronger-than-expected third-quarter results in October last year, with better performance in North America offsetting a slight decline in Europe.

Gudovic expects continued weak volumes in Europe, but sees a recovery in German and French activity in the second half of 2023.

He was also bullish on the company’s Eastern European business as the order books were “healthy”.

“To our surprise, we haven’t seen a significant decline in volumes in Ukraine’s neighboring countries. We’ve even seen strong performance in countries like Romania,” Kudovic said.

Gudovic expects a similar level of activity in the company’s M&A activity this year as he sees more opportunities for consolidation.

“In terms of emerging markets, we will stay in some of them, and in others, depending on the way forward, we may make some additional exits, especially in Africa and the rest of the world,” he said.

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